Former secondary school teacher John became embroiled in what Scotland Yard call ‘the biggest art fraud of the 20th century’. His legendary story has featured on BBC One's Fake or Fortune and inspired an upcoming feature film.&
Between 1986 and 1994, John faked as many as 200 works by artists like Marc Chagall and Alberto Giacometti, fooling collectors and experts alike. He was persuaded to pick up his brush again by the detective who arrested him.
In recent years, he has emulated the style of legendary artists Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh. Comparing himself to an actor immersing himself in a role, he says he climbs into the mind of his chosen artist to adopt, rather than copy, their technique.
In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, John explained: “I try to get the artist’s work to hypnotise me. I also surround myself with lots of books. I like to know everything…where he was, what he was doing…when he was painting.”
It’s set to be a busy year for John, who hit the headlines in the 1990s after finally being caught for painting fakes so realistic they fooled even professors and art historians. More recently appearing on BBC1's Fake or Fortune, John says he climbs into the mind of his chosen artist to adopt, not copy their technique.
Feeling intrigued? Come along to our question and answer session with the mastermind himself.
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